“Every time I go, I have a ball, as does Nikki. I think it’s a brilliant program.
Name: Charlotte Nash & Nikki
Type of dog: Border Collie
Visits: Children’s hospital
Volunteering: 2.5 years
Why: I do this volunteer work because I believe in it, and it is such a simple thing to do, but has such a profound impact upon the people we see. It is in the children’s faces and the parents smiles, that I know the work that we do is beneficial. We have visited hundreds of children, and every single one of them has appreciated the time, the distraction and the simple act of sharing time with an animal.
Enjoys most: The smiles, especially from the ones that are so sick, they can barely watch TV, Nikki still manages to raise a smile
Dog enjoys: My dog is firmly of the belief that there is a large building in the middle of the city where people stay so they can pat her. My dog is addicted to cuddles, and there are plenty of those on offer.
Reaction: Thrilled, excited – the children are often on the edges of the beds, and the nurses (despite being busy) usually take a few moments to say hello too.
Experiences: Where do I start?? The most endearing would have to be the time we met some children from Cambodia who were in the hospital for plastic and reconstructive surgery following a lifetime of being horribly disfigured by burns. They were so shy and tentative about Nikki at first, but eventually their curiosity overcame them and they had a wonderful time.
Heart wrenching – when we walked onto a ward and could hear the cries of a child from the nurses’ station. It transpired that this little girl was on our list to be visited, and before I knew it Nikki was dragging me down the hall to find out what was going on. The little girl was undergoing some painful needles, but as soon as she saw Nikki, she seemed to calm slightly and the Nurse suggested having a pat while she administered the final shots. Nikki certainly seemed to make a difference that night.
Every time I go, I have a ball, as does Nikki. I think it’s a brilliant program.
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